Charles W. Chesnutt: Postage Due


Charles W. Chesnutt
Charles W. Chesnutt

The Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival will observe the kick-off of the 20th National African American Read-In on February 1, 2009. The Read-in is sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English and its Black Caucus, endorsed by the International Reading Association. On the local level, this event is coordinated by WHCJ-FM 90.3, the department of Liberal Arts at Savannah State University, Savannah Chapter, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Savannah Alumnae. Schools, libraries and community centers are encouraged to participate in this national initiative to have one million Americans read works by African American writers.

Dr. B. Omega Moore, assistant professor, Liberal Arts at SSU, is presenting the first of a three-part series highlighting the lives of African American writers and some of their works leading up to the kick-off of the Read- In. Tune in to WHCJ-FM 93 on Sunday, February 1st, and listen to the works of various African American authors and poets.

When I went to purchase my black heritage postage stamp with an image of Charles W. Chesnutt last spring, I was surprised that the post office where I went did not have any. I then asked the postal employee where I could get some and she immediately went to a telephone and called two other post offices in the Savannah area before I was told that I could get my stamps from the Eisenhower branch.

I was curious about why there were none available at that location and she told me that some people had looked at the author’s picture on the stamp, assumed he was white and did not buy the stamp. That, in my estimation, is a commentary of where we are generally when it comes to knowing literary pioneers in African-American history.

Charles W. Chesnutt was an author whose collective literary works may be said to read not only like an encyclopedia of the African-American experience, but also like sociological manuals reminding us that human beings all have the same needs. Born in 1858 in Cleveland, Ohio, this writer, best known for his fic-

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